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Today in Washington

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Us 7, Washington 6, Jane Hamsher 5, Nancy Pelosi 4, Dan Choi 3, Obama 3, Pluribus Unum 2, D.c. 2, Undemocratic 2, North Carolina 2, George Bush 1, Ronald Reagan 1, John Boehner 1, Alan Simpson 1, Medicare 1, Paulson 1, Withjane Hamsher 1, Mitch Mcconnell 1, Bob 1, Steve Israel 1,
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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 19, 2011
    2:00 - 6:00am EDT  

were they lied to then they need to be cleaned out. if they were naive to except nothing then they have a complaint that the prime minister who was warned about paulson and those who were at war and sustained in place. >> thank you very much. we will leave it there. . ."washington journal quebec
continues. host: at the table, founder of firedog lake blog, jane hamsher.
we are talking about the future of spending in this country. guest: we have been organizing around the attempts to cut social security benefits. it looks like they are really going to do something this time. we are asking people to go to their local congress office and tell their member of congress that they oppose it. host: how big will it be? guest: we have already had it thousand people commit to doing this. people are concerned understandably. they need to put a face to it. host: what darker thoughts on the idea of a balanced budget and how to get there? guest: i think -- the conclusion of a family budget and the united states government is probably not the best way to
look at what we are doing right now. i think cutting programs, especially domestic spending programs, are bad for the economy. most economists would agree with it. host: how fired up are you and your people about this issue? guest: i think social security is a defining issue for those that define themselves as democrats. the willingness of this president and congress to go after it changes what the democratic party stands for. host: here are the numbers to call to speed withjane hamsher. they are at the bottom -- to speak with jane hamsher. they are at the bottom of your
screen. here is a little bit of president obama from friday. >> this is tough on the democratic side as well. some of the things i spoke about and said i would be willing to see happen, there are some democrats think it is unacceptable. i am trying to sell that if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit, just as much as if you are a conservative. the only thing we are talking about over the next year or so is debt and deficit, then it is hard to start talking about how to make investments in community colleges so our kids are trained. how to be rebuilt to dollar trillion worth of structures? if you care about making investments in our kids and in
the structure, and basic research, then you should want ever fiscal house in order, so that every time we propose a new initiative, someone does not throw up their hands and say more government, more fixed spending. host: you wrote we must act now to save social security and medicare. what should we be thinking and feeling right now, which is to adopt a liberal policy. tell us more. guest: no matter what the president does, there is always going to be someone raising their hand. . do you hope to cut enough out of social security and medicare? they just passed a continuation
of the bush tax cut last year. that is what punched a hole in this deficit. to handle one without the other , and lower taxes on people and now fight this battle on raising taxes, and to cut so security and medicare is a problem for americans that overwhelmingly oppose it. many agree that this is not the way to handle this. it is like a rabbit came to try to cut social security and medicare. the republicans have offered to clean debt ceiling increase with no cuts.
host: when you hear the phrase, shared sacrifice, what does it mean? guest: it seems to mean shared between the poor and the elderly. what we are looking at is probably a commission that could not come to an agreement, but was in support of cutting social security and medicare. president obama said he put support the cuts, but would not support the defense cuts. host: first call is from wyoming, a republican. caller: thanks for being there. i always appreciate c-span. i will get to the point and take
any comments he may have often the air. why do people from the left and never state the facts that sells a security reforms that have been talked about in recent years to not touch anybody 55 years or older? that is one question. then, social security will become insolvent down the road. everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees on that. they never want to mention the reasons why this might be necessary. although we all pay into social security, in this day and age, people take in more than they ever paid in. guest: 55 years or younger, that is not true.
they are talking about a cost- of-living adjustment and the way they calculate it. social security has plenty of money and it is absolutely solvent. the government is obligated to pay it. it will not become insolvent. the treasury notes that are in there are good. there are the same that everyone else has across the world. unless you say the government is not. to pay its debt, which i do not think people want to do --
unless you are saying that the government should not pay its debt, i do not think any of those arguments work. host: our guest is the founder of firedog lake blog. about 30 minutes longer. democrat, next. caller: i was wondering if you have had the chance to look at a bill proposed that a congressman from pennsylvania made. it deals with taxes. i have a comment about the tea party. they want to take us back to 1958.
some white anglo-saxon protestants want to be in charge of everything and know their place. i would remind them to read the american dollar bill, where it has the phrase in at 10,e pluribus unum. -- phrase in latin, e pluribus unum. i do not understand why they want to take us back there. guest: some believe we should cut down so security benefits and medicare. it is ironic that both parties are conspiring to do this, when the american public does not want that. host: one person talk about consumption tax. there is a lot on the table on
the tax issue. any particular aspect you want to see? guest: i want to see them protect security and medicare benefits. i think there are several wars that are not free that we should start talking about that the american people are not in support of any more. congress seems to be ignorant of what the american people want. they do not want so security and medicare benefits cut in order to balance the budget and cut the deficit. they will -- they want to see cut in other places. host: how are they dealing with the speaker and minority leader? guest: mitch mcconnell came out with a proposal but we will
offer up a clean debt ceiling vote with no spending cuts attached. the president did not like it, because it had three branches of increase that he would have to take personal responsibility for. nancy pelosi and hillary reid said they support it. she was taking part in the debt ceiling negotiations. when john boehner said on friday that he would not be going to camp david, because the but house was considering negotiations there, nancy pelosi said the same thing. her role in all of this is weird right now. she seems to be reluctant to impose this vote. host: new jersey, independent. caller: i do not agree with you
about having some cuts to social security and other expenses. there should be cuts on a lot of wasted programs in the government. we cannot just continue our spending. it is out of control. 40 cents of every dollar is spent -- it is to sustain our lifestyle. the comment about taking a clean vote for the debt ceiling. that is a cop out. congress needs to do their job. they need to make these hard choices. we will have to increase taxes on the wealthy.
they are paying 14% that is ridiculous. we have to raise taxes on the rich. look, we're going to have to make some cuts. some of the cuts they're talking about are not great. i do not think he should cut such as security, but if you have to, compromise to get a big deal done, that is fine. education is a bad cut. right now we're falling further and further behind the rest of the world in education. if they have to make some sort of cuts there, you may have to do it. we may not even have a country to worry about if we continue the way we are. host: thank you. we get the point. guest: i do not agree we have to make cuts to social security or medicare and neither does the rest of the country. i agree the wealthy should pay more.
i do not think we should have extended the bush tax cuts for them last year. i was in support of drawing the line at $1 million. the president was anxious to do a deal and that is why we are here. host: talking about nancy pelosi, you're not sure why nancy pelosi is not opposing the vote on the caucus. what do you mean? guest: i am not sure what is going on. they are probably going to jam a vote on them that forces them to have a mission. a debt commission that the president very much wanted have in congress voted against last year. i think it was in 2009. that is why the president appointed the deficit commission. this is something that congress does when they wanted to the unpopular things. it is what they did when they did the base closings. no individual senators or member of congress wanted to take responsibility for that, so they
had a commission, but the set of recommendations with an up or down vote with no possibility of amendment. i think that is the way that will finally cut medicare and social security. it is very undemocratic. what they're basically saying, we're not on use congressional process. we're going to not use the normal rules of order to do something that is incredibly unpopular. host: here is an advertisement called "jam session." >> today's seniors understand the benefits of social security and medicare. they know these programs will be just as important for future generations, so why is washington talking about benefit cuts? stand with us and tell congress, don't cut so security and medicare. because we pay into these programs with every paycheck and americans of all ages in the security these benefits provide. host: jane hamsher, your efforts
specifically to mark to express opposition, you talk about 2000 people pledging support? >> i think that was from friday. i think we have more now. we're asking people to visit their member of congress tomorrow. president obama says we have to eat a ourpeas. -- eat our peas. you can go too far the dog from -- you can go to there is an information chic you can download. it really lets the member of congress know up close and personal these people depend on this money. cutting it off right now is not only terrible for them, but the economy. consumer sentiment has dropped to its lowest point i think since 2009 at the height of the economic downturn because of the debt ceiling talks.
it is having a terrible impact on the economy. telling senior citizens they may not get their check is highly irresponsible. host: we just asked if it should make corporate the career of congress. having a vote regarding social security? guest: i think so. i think they should lose their seats if they vote for this. host: mike, republican. caller: good morning. i was arrogant like the members of congress and the senators and everyone along those lines up until 2008. in 2008, i was going in for back surgery and was found with terminal cancer. in june 2009, i went on medical disability. and announced to me. i did not even know i was eligible. the doctor told me to file. guess what? in june of this year, i was eligible for medicare.
i was on social security disability. i was eligible for medicare. i had to continue working during that time because my private insurance when i was allowed to make wall drawing disability, i had to work to pay my private insurance for two years. and now i am on social security. by a private entrance is fixing to lapse. guess what? i get -- i wished i worked at congress because are in the congressman or senators on medicare? guest: i believe several of them are of an age to receive medicare. i am very sorry you had this illness. i am happy that so security and medicare have been there for you. americans have the confidence that if it happens to you, it happens to them. so security and medicare will be there to catch them. that is the contract the
american government has had with the new people that we will never go through what we went through before in the great depression. i do not think congress understands how fundamentally americans trust this. their turn to say this has to happen for the fiscal secured of the country, -- they are trying to say this has happened for fiscal security of the country. wars, bombs, will subsidies. you name it, there is a long list. i really think that going after the money that is sustaining people like you is really a moral and an american. kansas.t's go to caller: good morning. my question is, why does congress want to stop paying social security and medicare when they take a medicare and social security out of people's checks a week?
i want to know, why can they just come to a conclusion and stop that? they're putting money in other places like to the war, places like that in afghanistan, to other wars. that is my question. guest: two interesting things your question brings up. when fdr designed so security, he said, we're going to put it on your checks every week so you will see it being taken out and you will note it is there for you. that was very, very important to fdr and the preservation of the social safety net. also, he said, we are going to make sure that every time -- that you know this is something that is solvent, but the money is there in the bank so it is not a welfare program but it
should not be means tested. we all know what happens to welfare programs. we all know they go under the knife. he said it had to apply to everyone. that is one of the things they want to attack at this point, too. you may say, well, the wealthy should not because it is in financial trouble. it is not. the minute you make of a welfare program, the death warrant. host: we have heard recruitment efforts will be hurt by any perceived abandonment in the area of medicare by democratic leaders. your thoughts? your efforts this weekend organizing, what will you be telling folks? guest: if they support in the cuts to social secure the and medicare benefits, that we will not support any politician who does this. i think is important people in both parties do this. all parties need to know this is how the public feels. stickies role, i am amazed that would try to do this.
-- steve israel, i'm amazed they would try to do this. one of the big calling cards of the republicans in 2010 was about democrats try to cut medicare benefits. i do not think they did, but that was largely a premise. remember, they understand the american public, both parties with is protected. you need to go and tell them this. go and tell them. if you're on medicare or social security, if you depend on this, go to their office tomorrow and let them know this is how you feel because they are not getting at host:. who are supporting for president in 2012? guest: good question. i do not think anyone needs to commit to vote for anyone right now. there is a very long time between now and the election. i think elections are opportunities to encourage the
people that you like to do the right thing. i encourage president obama to do the right thing. i encourage him not to cut social security and medicare benefits or means test and i encourage him not to start a commission with the purpose of cutting social security and medicare benefits. that is what i would very much like to see and a presidential candidate. host: i have to ask, if he allows any cuts or reductions to go through, where you go in terms of the next election? guest: we have had 50,000 people pledged it would not support any politician who supports these cuts. that means president obama if he supports that, same criteria applies to an. i do not know who will be running in 2012, but i hope the president does the right thing and i end up supporting him. host: independent, new hampshire. to my: i've been talking
representative and the speaker of the houses office, try to get so sick to the runoff from the time we had social security -- i've been trying to get social security runoff. no one can seem to tell me where it has gone. basically in washington, they have this as their own bank. they get their sticky fingers in that and we never get a runoff of where this money went. guest: that is a very good question read in the 2000 election, they're talking about the lock box, that there would not region as a secure the money in order to pay government expenses. -- that they would not reach into social security in order to pay government expenses. the lid got blown off that. if you ask people like alan simpson, they will say they spent on roads and bridges. you cannot say, we took this
unfunded wars. but that is where the budget swelling came from. host: one question, is your guest some social security and medicare has no fraud and abuse? millions are cheating or liberal system. guest: if there is fraud, i support cutting it. but we're talking about cutting the cost of living increase for social security, means testing it, cutting medicare benefits, increasing copays, increasing the retirement age -- which would be a huge benefit cut to people over the course of their lifetime. host: bob, republican. good morning. caller: i have been watching this stuff on sosa security and everything. i have been on it for good number of years. most of the money that comes through, some people do not make that much on social security.
if they end up cutting are putting their fingers in it, so to speak, some of these people do not make a lot of money in social security and depend on this to pay for their medical bills and their food and rent and everything else. the problem i have come i live in missouri. the problem i have, me and another fellow and saying with, we are both on disability. as it is, we are barely making it month by month. i could not believe they were even thinking about cutting social security. i have never had a president -- i called social security myself and they said, no, we do not know if there will be out on the second because they go to the banks. they were telling me they do not know if there will be out on the second or not. guest: so security is telling
you that? they cannot legally not pay this. it is unconstitutional. i am astounded they are telling you this. i understand you are a republican. this is typical what we hear from people. no one wants this to happen. host: democrat, texas. caller: me and my son are both on disability. we have cancer and are barely surviving on social security. i have a brother in law and sister-in-law the same way. if we do without that, we cannot buy groceries or medical or pay our rent. we are very worried. i did call social security, but they said there is no word yet on that. i am worried how we will pay our mortgage and everything next month. guest: i am so sorry. it is tragic you have to have
this fear. it is released during the people who depend on this -- really scaring the people who depend on this. it is unconscionable that we continue to wage moral wars. the people do not have the confidence the money they have paid into this will not be there. i urge everyone come visit your member of congress tomorrow. tell their staff in the office that you cared enough to show up and let them know how strong the field. they will do this. they really want to do this. this fear mongering, basically, that they're doing is to make you scared they have to make cuts to in order to keep paying out benefits. it is not true. host: how about the debt limit in the debates in the pressure here in washington? if you look at the folks on the hill, what do you see? guest: it is manufacturer. they have raised the debt ceiling i think seven times
under george bush. everyone knows it has to be done. eventually, obama was right, the republicans will have to cave because the banks will not let them not do it but they put it in his court and said, you have to take responsibility for it. we will make sure people get their social security on august 2. the president is the one who is saying, no. he is saying, the democratic party is saying we want spending cuts along with the raising of the debt ceiling. they're doing more damage to the economy with the politics they are playing in the situation. guest: akron, ohio, independent. caller: i kind of agree with you. i am disappointed obama would even mention trying to cut social security. let me ask a question and i will hang up and listen to you.
shouldn't the capital raised at least from what it is now like $109,000 of income? i mean, to mean, that seems logical. why would you not raise it to $250,000 of income that social security would be taxed on that and come? i will hang up and listen. guest: the caller is talking about the cap on the amount of money you earn the social security taxes are taken from. it seems like to be a much better solution, something far more american support to raise the cap, if there is more money needed, rather than to make cuts in the program or benefits. if you believe that, go to your member of congress to mark in their office. tell their staff this is how you think. they do not seem to get that. host: what about the higher retirement age of rock? guest: it is horrible.
it is no different than the paul ryan plan. it forces them on to the exchanges. it puts them in the exchanges and if they reach a certain income level, they are given essentially vouchers. it is sort of a first step on that front, too. but people who are poor, who do manual labor, are more likely to need medicare earlier than people who are wealthy. it is a very, very, very aggressive move. host: republican line. welcome to the program. caller: i have a question print i keep hearing we need to cut this and we need to cut that. so security and medicare was a contract in the government and the american people that he would be there for us.
it is money that should have never been touched by the politicians. there should be an accounting in washington, d.c. to the american people, how much money they should have how much is taken out of social security and why it has not been paid back. and how many people in this country pass away each year at retirement age and never draw that first time of social security? where does that money go to? how much money -- how much of that money does the federal government keep? if we are going to tighten the belt, then we need answers from the government of what they're doing with the money they take in. and the politicians need to tighten the purse strings on some of this idiotic spending they do and get this country back on the right track with things that needs to be or it needs to have money spent on it first. and then all of this other stuff
can be put into play secondary, wants the needs of the american people needs our debt was first. guest: i will note this children it is a republican and he said it is a contract with the american people, social security and medicare benefits, and he wants an accounting. ultimately, we agree on the same thing. do not get these benefits. these are benefits the government said they will pay out. host: here are a couple of emails for you -- guest: it has been reported in several papers that these are the things being considered. we are taking the news at face value. he also said in his own press conference that we had to keep our peas any thought this was the time for cuts. i think you can only go with
what is currently being discussed. host: and another one -- guest: yes, i think that is a good point. everyone talks about st. ronald reagan, but he actually raised taxes after he cut them. we do not have the kind of responsible politicians in washington, d.c. who will make that tough choice against party- line, putting country above politics. host: try this one -- well, the were not voting on social security and medicare. had they been, they would have voted to keep it. host: georgia from north carolina, a democrat. caller: i am worried about
medicare, medicaid and social security. i get medicare. i do realize there are a lot of frogs and both the systems, medicare and medicaid, which i think should be looked into because a lot of people are all other peoples cards and things like that and get help. what i am most interested in is social security. that is the people's money. i, for one, that is the only money i have coming into my household, which i'm sure many, many, many other people have. if i do not get my checks on the third, i will be evicted. my ranch will not be paid. my electrical not be paid. my phone will not be paid. i will have no money. i have exactly $10 to my name. i do not think it is correct for the federal government to take after the little guy. i bet you 2 cents if the republicans had to live on the amount of money we get and
social sickened for one month, they would change their tune. guest: i am sorry you have that anxiety and fear. especial when the fed continues to shovel out free money to banks. they are threatening to knock on the social security checks is absolutely ridiculous. i am very sorry about that. i hope everyone will visit the member of congress tomorrow and let them know this is the situation that millions of americans are in, and that this is not where they can start tightening their belts. this is not the place to do. whether you are republican or democrat, whether you think the deficit needs to be closed or not, americans believe this is not the place to do the cuts. you can get the information from there is a fact sheet you can download and give to them.
there is a speech you can read to them to give them the facts. it is important to voice heard now because it will vote to do this very soon. unless you let them know you're watching this -- watching them and do not support this, that is what will happen. host: we've talked a lot about social security and medicare. what about other social issues heading into the 2012 campaign? what is first and foremost on your mind in that area? guest: social issues? impacting the elections? i think dan choi who is the veteran who was discharged under don't ask, don't tell, was arrested in front of the white house. that is one of the reasons people feel don't ask, don't tell ultimately passed. people are routinely arrested in front of the white house all the time and charged with misdemeanors. dan choi is the first person been charged by the department of justice as a felony and is
trial is august 29. i think it will met a lot of people very, very angry. they really believe having the assistant u.s. attorney bringing charges against dan choi in court is going to have a really bad impact on the view of people on the left, that the white house, the administration, the justice department is trying to enact revenge on him for what he did. host: independent, north carolina. caller: good morning. my thing is, they have already tapped into so security -- social security. we to get cost-of-living increases and we do not anymore, so they have already taken away from us. why are we always the main players in the wars in rebuilding instead of other countries doing it?
we put all of our money for that. we should take these congress people and cut their paychecks and see how they like living on it. guest: i think that is great, cutting their pay to the average americans pay. people have not received cost of living increases partly in the way they increase but -- the way determine inflation. it is an even more regressive way, so you'll receive even less. that is a big concern. again, go to a member of congress tomorrow and tell them what you think. host: from twitter -- the last call, for lauderdale, florida, a democrat. caller: good morning. i just want to know the basic of
all of this. this country was founded on teamwork, working together. when serious have come before us in the past, when we came together as one, we were able to do things. what i do not understand, jane hamsher i thought you went around the question earlier about the tea party. what are the organizations like this today that a taken as fact primarily to medieval times? i think this is something that is destructive toward the government. we should be doing something positive, not striking fear and everyone. as you said, the news wires posting things about what the president is saying and what he is willing to cut. until we know exactly what he is going to cut, to me, this seems
like we're striking more fear. i think we should be doing things positive. we should not be worried about reelection. i think if it was not for that, the debt situation would be solved. wheat as the people automatically know politics comes first in congress, and should not. i want to hear what you have to say. i also want you to answer with the earlier caller said about the tea party, what they represent, and they're being disruptive for the government. that is my opinion. i think there are organizations out there and i think they been an american. host: thank you. guest: no. 1, the president said social security checks might not go out august 2. he did the fear mongering. i think the tea party has been
destructive and i think they're largely responsible for highly polarized and released to the debate right now. it is focused on cutting the deficit at a time when we're in a serious economic crisis, the midst of a recession. classically, that has been a stupid thing to do. we see that already. we're losing jobs. the jobs situation is not good. consumer sentiment isn't a bad place largely because of the debt crisis. -- is in a bad place largely because of the debt crisis. i think we're here largely because of their influence, but i do not think responding to the inference by cutting social security and medicare even most members of the tea party won. again, i go back to that. we're looking at something extremely undemocratic. we're looking at both parties of congress conspiring against the will of the people in order to what they want in the face of a manufactured crisis. i think that is a really, really
bad place. host: jane hamsher, founder